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ELECTRIFICATION of the rail line between Melbourne and Melton could solve a number of problems for Ballarat commuters.
The change would see commuters boarding from Melton into the city would be picked up by Metro services rather than V/Line and would cut down on time and overcrowding for Ballarat train commuters.
Greens MP Colleen Hartland said if the government were to approach the topic sensibly the change “would be a priority".
“It is not just Melton that would get the advantage, it is other areas like Deer Park and Ardeer, all that growth area in western Melbourne,” she said.
Ms Hartland said this change could eventually result in the return of an express service from Ballarat to Melbourne, given the number of stops that would be removed.
“(These are) all of the things that need to be investigated,” she said.
“If Regional Rail Link can be built, they can be looking at that kind of project again.”
The official launch of the RRL project last weekend highlighted the growing capacity needs in the Western part of Melbourne.
This could lead to a focus on the Melton line’s electrification as another project to be considered.
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However, Ms Hartland said the change wouldn’t be welcomed by all passengers.
“Some people don’t want to give up their V/Line services because it is much more comfortable,” she said.
Committee for Ballarat chair Judy Verlin said an analysis of the Sunbury line, electrified in 2012, will be undertaken in the Regional Public Transport Plan to determine if the Melton line should follow the same procedure.
Ms Verlin will represent the Ballarat region on the Public Transport Advisory Group and create the plan.
"It has (the Melton electrification) always been high on the priority list for the Committee for Ballarat," Ms Verlin said.
"We will be tapping into a lot of the departments' work - we'll go through data that's available, the demographic of the community and work patterns.”
New Regional Rail timetables will be operational from June 21.
This article first appeared on www.thecourier.com.au
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